By | Rosa Durst ’17

Interviews for internships aren’t typically conducted in four languages at once—English, German, Italian, and French. But that was how Ellie Bekmanis ’16 (Hannover, Germany) landed her internship at Eurojust, an anti-crime agency of the European Union situated in The Hague, The Netherlands.

Bekmanis’s future boss called her at home to discuss her hours and other logistics. “Then out of the blue he started interviewing me in four different languages,” she says. “I didn’t know what to do.” It must have gone well—after all, she did get hired. “But nobody told me it was going to be an interview and then suddenly there I was, speaking four languages on the phone to a man I had never met before,” she says.

It all started last fall, when Bekmanis chose to study in Mac’s Perspectives on Globalization program in The Hague, one of three faculty-led study abroad programs offered by the college. She was seeking an experience that would connect directly to her interests in international integration and globalization, while allowing her to focus on academics and research. The Perspectives on Globalization program, she says, was the perfect choice.

This was the first year the program also included an internship option, which Bekmanis was eager to take advantage of. Having learned about Eurojust during a class on the European Union, she set her sights on working there. It almost didn’t work out—the organization generally only hires graduate students of law, says Bekmanis—but eventually she landed a position in their communications department.

Eurojust was formed in 2002 to cooperatively fight organized crime and reinforce freedom and security throughout the European Union. Representatives from European Union member states get together to plan police actions and strategies to fight international crime, Bekmanis explains.

As a press and public relations trainee, Bekmanis covered a wide range of tasks, including interviewing people for Eurojust publications, translating press releases, working with social media, and conducting research for colleagues. Much of that research centered on economic crime in the European Union and the laws governing the confiscation of the proceeds of crime among its member states. A highlight was organizing the technical briefing for a newly released report on transnational environmental crime, helping put together the official presentation, and traveling to Brussels with a team including Eurojust’s president to deliver the report.

Bekmanis worked nearly full time at her internship while also taking a class and completing a 6,000-word independent study project. The hard work was worth it, though, says Bekmanis. She learned a great deal, not only about how the European Union functions, but also about professional skills such as presenting research in a concise manner and conducting research “in a way that’s useful to the professional world.”

After Macalester, Bekmanis would like to continue doing that kind of research and analysis work. “I’m definitely interested in policy work and implementing the research rather than just communicating about it,” she says.

April 27 2015

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